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The Dirty Show
I attended a local erotic art show last year and wrote the following review. I attended the 2010 show and my comments follow:

Detroit and surrounding areas of Michigan are suffering economically, but the art scene has never been in finer shape. That is, if you’re into erotic art and attend The Dirty Show, across from Detroit’s Eastern Market in Bert’s Warehouse Theatre.

My efforts at recruiting a twenty-year-old fellow student to accompany my wife, my nephew and me to the show fell through; it was her mother’s birthday. This isn’t the kind of show you tell your mom you’ve attended, let alone on her birthday. My nephew slept in anyway, so it was just my wife and I attending. If you’re over eighteen, you can get in on Sundays, as we did, from noon to six or on Friday or Saturday nights from 7p.m. to 2a.m. They have a well-stocked bar and I could have used a drink or two for this show.

The show had only been open two days at this writing and some of the best pieces, at least the pieces my wife and I liked, already have “sold” tags on them. jenn, (no capitalization or last name, you know how these artistic types are) from Huntington Woods, Michigan, created a bustier (say boos-tya , guys). It was entitled “Mulitfaceted” and covered with small green and pink tiles with jewels for nipples and navel. I love the way she left one suggestive shoulder. It measured about 16” x 24” and sold for $350.00. I would have bought it on the spot and I haven’t been working all that much lately. It was spectacular craftsmanship and under priced by a thousand dollars at least.

“Kitty Nude In LA”, by Simon Thorpe from the United Kingdom, was a framed black and white photograph, about 16”x24”, of a reclining nude from the waist up surrounded by satin that seemed to fade to foam. The contrast of her dark hair against the white background was striking and beckoning simultaneously. And the look in her eye? To die for. Sold for $325.00.

Monique Cousineau, from Bloomington, Illinois, entered “Zipper”, a color photograph about 10”x 20” of a whimsical green ribbon lovingly criss-crossing the curvaceous back and spine of a model with acupuncture needles securing the ribbon to flesh. I could feel the tingle, especially at the bargain price of $150.00. Sold.

Of course in a show like this, you’re going to get your odd entry or two. There was an illuminated x-ray of a very lost erotic toy and a metal sperm about four feet long, demonstrating exceptional metal craft. Charles Green’s “French Dressing” straddles the “odd” category but was one of my show favorites. This artist from Royal Oak, Michigan, has hung a glass-covered box on the wall, about 14”x18”, and is beautifully decorated with garter straps and flowers on the inside along with this poem:

It’s the gift-wrap on the present
The garnish on the plate
It’s the exotic spice for that sweet vice
You love to contemplate

It’s the bottle that contains the wine
The veil that hides the face
It’s the fog that surrounds the valley
In a mist of sheerest lace

It’s the pleasure in the morning
That you savor in the night
It’s these silky satin secrets
You keep hidden for delight

It’s the subtle flash of stocking top
Held tight by garter strap
It’s the slender strip of silk charmeuse
That baits the tender trap

It’s a way to tempt your lover
When you don’t know what to say
It’s all this whispered in one word
And that word is…lingerie

“Silky satin secrets”, “slender strip of silk”; does this guy have some chops or what? Oh that I could ink an ode so fine! Perhaps “envy” as my theme? Worth every penny of the $1,000.00 tag, but yet unsold.

Now for my show favorites. See if you can discern a theme. Picture “Catwoman” drawn by a horney Disney animator. She’s wearing stiletto heels and a delightful cat tail curves down from the base of her spine. With her back to the viewer, she smirks mischievously over her shoulder as she playfully pinches a dangling mouse by the tail between her thumb and index finger. Her other digits extend as if she’s at a proper English tea. Very naughty in a purrfectly innocent way. Her black and white striped and clinging outfit contrast vividly with the deep red background and the smattering of ubiquitous lip prints. Acrylic on canvass, about 9” x 14”, “Purrfect” by Nina Friday, $450.00.

Isobel Wren’s “There’s Only Room For One In Here” shows a young lovely, wearing only a dog’s leash, entering headfirst into a stainless steel kennel on her hands and knees. Anthropomorphism inverted. A framed color photograph at $125.00.

“I Can Do It Myself!” is by Lewis Dennison of Southfield, Michigan, and shows a bound and gagged young female in thigh-high nylon stockings pulling on a rope that binds her with her teeth while straddling a chair. At $125.00, a bargain indeed.

The piece I liked best, my wife liked the least. “Luggage”, by Eric Cain of Dearborn, Michigan, is a 14”x 24” sepia toned photograph of a man standing in a small hallway or elevator. In his left hand is a suitcase with a rope hanging through the clasping edges. In his right hand, he holds the center of the ropes balancing a hog-tied woman, her belly toward the floor, her arms and legs stretched back and up. She is not gagged and her hair cascades over her upturned face. It is the look on the man’s face which makes the piece so powerful and the source of artistic interpretive disagreement between my spouse and me. She sees contempt, but it is the complete lack of contempt that drives the work. This guy is looking down at her just like she’s a piece of luggage. You don’t hate your luggage. I see the confining walls of the hallway to be the metaphorical ropes hog-tying the guy. He is nearly as helpless as she. The feminists will go absolutely ballistic over this one. If art is to raise consciousness, ferment discussion and probe gender roles in society, this work carries the day. Two-hundred-fifty bucks, framed and out the door.

As much as I loved some of the works, I have a few trifles. The impromptu lighting, consisting of shrouded bare bulbs clamped willy-nilly adds to the industrial feel, but creates distracting glare on many works. Hey, this ain’t the Detroit Institute of the Arts, what do I expect? There was also a surprising “clinical” feel in the air. You’d think the place would have a vibe more attuned to the nature of the show, but it wasn’t there. Unescorted ladies would more likely get hit upon at the Kroger store than here. There isn’t much sculpture at this show and as one might stereotypically imagine, the gay male community seems a bit over-represented. However, there is plenty here for lesbians and heterosexuals, too. Leave most inhibitions at home and come see how the other half, quarter, eighth or sixteenth lives and loves, interpreted through international artistic eyes. You won’t be disappointed. Don’t tell your mom.


Since that writing, we went back on Valentines night with another couple. It was very different from the Sunday matinee. I watched a leather-clad hottie redden the behind of a game twenty-something guy with her riding crop. I would have been next in line, but I was distracted by the pasty-clad dancing girls in the cages and on the stage. You're just going to have to take my word; there was a prohibition of photography although it was unevenly enforced. I'm coming back next year, for sure.

Addendum ll:

The 2010 show was sold out. I didn't like it as much as last year's show, but the woman selling cupcakes with the frosting top made it all worth while.

Although photography of artwork and performers is prohibited, I was able to get some camera phone shots of my favorite shoes. I should have backed up a bit for a better picture, but hey, I was excited:
Toe clevage. Be still my heart.

I hate feet, I just see deformed hands when I see them, which, coupled with the images of worth, power, action, skill that hands conjour, they make me hiss in disgust.

Legs however, and a well kept female form, you cannot beat.

I like the poem, and agree with the centiment. As Doug Stanhope has commented in the following sort of way 'I have sat for hours in a titty bar, drinking with all this tits and bits dangling infront of me, yet when the waitress brings over a beer, stooping to place the bottle on the table, shirt cut low, the excitement of the glimpse of her clevage is overwhelming.'

It is what you cannot see that drives much of desire.
But feet are not "deformed hands". I don't have any sort of foot fetish, but after all, a pair of beautiful legs need something to keep them perpendicular to the ground, and some feet are in themselves attractive.

"It is what you cannot see that drives much of desire", indeed! I lamented (and still lament) the passing of the miniskirt.

A gorgeous pair of getaway sticks rising from well pedicured and high heel bound feet is a thing of beauty. But there are instances when high heels do not help.
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
I have a thing for women tiptoeing, which is good for me seeing as I am 6'4". I will actually unwittingly stop to admire if a woman does such a thing near me.

And for that flat shoes/pumps or even barefoot is best. And as to the high heels, thats like a permanent tiptoe, attractive in a different way.
I like high heels (on women), but I'm aware of the damage (and the pain) they can cause to their feet. They are nice on occasion but unnecessary.
What I find amazing is how seldom ladies fall off of their high heels. I love dance competitions such as Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance and I am just flabbergasted when I watch those women doing these amazing difficult dance steps while balanced on a pair of high heels. Wowza!
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
All that and you guys only notice the shoes?

The kowboy catches on quick, don't he, lads?
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
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